Man Injured in Police Detention after Ceiling Collapse

Man Injured in Police Detention after Ceiling Collapse

A Belize City man is hospitalized after being injured whilst in police detention. On Friday evening, 29-year-old, Japhet Bennett, was detained under the State of Emergency regulations. Bennett was being held at the Queen Street Police Station and was to be released today. Things went awry, however, when a portions of the cell block’s ceiling fell on him last night at around 11 o’clock. Bennett was reportedly sleeping when he was hit by the pieces of concrete and left in an unconscious state. His mother, Patricia Lanza, says Bennett had not been in the police’s crosshairs for some time and was shocked that he was taken into custody. She told Love News that her son was taken to the hospital by police, but says the family was not informed or given an official briefing on what happened.

Patricia Lanza, Mother of Bennett: “The night they called me and told me that my son was in the hospital, because I know a lot of people from the hospital. So I hurry rushed over to the hospital. When I reached over to the hospital the doctor was about to call me so when I reached in there like he “Your Mommy come now.” So I reached in and started talking to my son and I said “What happened ?” He said ” Ma the whole ceiling fell on me when I was sleeping.” You know ? The whole ceiling fell on his back. He said he was knocked out. He had a friend that wet him up and woke him up and they had to drag him out on a cardboard because he was flat on his belly with his hands straight out, he couldn’t even move or anything. So when I got there now I saw my son crying, I’ve never seen my son cry in his life. Never yet, no matte what he doesn’t cry but he was crying last night to me. “Mommy I’m in bad pain. I can’t even feel in this leg here.” Up to yet from last night I saw him and he couldn’t feel in this leg he still cannot feel in his leg and that is a serious matter because he was in the hands with them they were supposed to take care of my son. Just like how I take care of my son they’re supposed to be taking care of my son. When my son was at the prison he didn’t get a hurt like. That’s not fair.”

Reporter: Japheth would have still been here safe and sound if he wasn’t picked up by the police ?

Patricia Lanza, Mother of Bennett: “He would be safe and sound in his house still yet with his baby because he’s always with his baby. As you see him he’s riding about with his baby. He stayed home with his baby from there he came to his mom to sit down to spend two days with me all day you know ? When I listened the morning early they took my son, called and said they took him.”

Bennett is no stranger to law enforcement. In 2013, he was convicted of the 2009 murder of Ellis Meighan Sr. and sentenced to life in prison. However, Bennett appealed the matter to the Caribbean Court of Justice, and his conviction was overturned. Lanza says while her son has a criminal past, he has been making efforts to positively change his life since his release from prison in 2018.

Patricia Lanza, Mother of Bennett: “My son came out of jail after ten years and my son never got into a problem. How long is he out here ? Five years thank God because it’s hard to find somebody out here that came out of jail still alive you know ? I try to protect my son every night. That’s not fair, that’s not real, that’s not nice. None at all. Because it could have been worse. Suppose my son died or something ?” 

Reporter: Have you been able to speak to any of the doctors to see whether Japheth will suffer any injuries that may stay with him from here on out ? 

Patricia Lanza, Mother of Bennett: “Well not really. Last night when I spoke to them last night it was because he still didn’t have any feeling in his leg. They were waiting to see if he would have feeling again but up to yet he still doesn’t have the feeling. I should have been the first one they called right away as that happened to my son so I wouldn’t have known until the next day that is what a police told me at the hospital that I wouldn’t have known this until tomorrow like today and he wants to know how I know about that. Why do you want to know about how I know about that ? You understand ? That sounds fishy too you know ? It’s like you have something planned or you have something to make up behind that. My son knows what happened to him he is right there.”

Police were asked about this incident at today’s press brief, but the media was told that the incident was much ado about nothing.  According to the Police, the injuries were surface.

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